BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Planning Board voted in favor of proceeding with a preliminary investigation of the redevelopment of the Township's municipal complex at Thursday evening's meeting. A unanimous vote from the five board members that were present were in favor, authorizing The Harbor Consultants, Inc. to move forward with a preliminary investigation to determine whether the Berkeley Heights municipal complex is an area in need of non-condemnation redevelopment.
"The township will not use the power of condemnation to acquire any property to be redeveloped. If the municipal complex is at a later date declared an area in need of redevelopment, the township has the option of selecting the entity that will redevelop the property after a redevelopment plan is prepared and adopted," said Albert E. Cruz, who is the Township's redevelopment attorney.
The Township Council previously authorized by resolution dated Nov. 18, 2013 to ask the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether the Berkeley Heights municipal complex is an area in need of non-condemnation redevelopment, said Cruz. The Planning Board on Dec. 4, 2013 voted to authorize Harbor Consultants, Inc to prepare a map of the property and prepare a preliminary investigation of the property to determine whether the property is an area in need of non-condemnation redevelopment pursuant to the NJ Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.
Cruz and his firm had recommended that Resolution No. 271-2013 be fully reconsidered by the Planning Board and that Mayor Bruno and board members Mr. Graziano, Mr. Hall and Mr. Russo recuse themselves at the Planning Board level due to potential conflict of interest. Cruz advised the board that these four members should not participate in the reconsideration and not be present when this matter is considered.
A resolution was drafted by Cruz and presented and passed by the five "non-conflicted" members of the Planning Board to authorize Harbor Consultants Inc. to proceed forward with the preliminary investigation.
Planning Board members that were present to vote include: Mr. Einbinder, Ms. Perna, Mr. Monaco, Mr. Johnson, and Town Engineer Bob. Bocchino.
The Feb. 5 Regular Planning Board meeting has been canceled and a Special Planning Board Meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 19.